NEW YORK CITY, NY — Workers for an upscale New York City sushi restaurant recently hit the company with a class action unpaid overtime lawsuit over allegations that the business and its management engaged in wage theft against servers by setting up illegal tip pools. The claim against Sushi Nakazawa names the restaurant, its owner, and chef as defendants for “willfully failing and refusing to pay them at the legally required minimum wage for all hours worked.”
According to the class action unpaid overtime lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the defendants revised their pay policies for servers sometime in 2016. During a meeting where management laid out the changes, the restaurant owner and his chef asserted they had been too generous with employee pay and would make drastic changes moving forward.
The defendants allegedly created a tip pool where all servers would have their tips divided up by the management as they saw fit, including paying out non-eligible employees working in the back of the house. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), restaurants can create tip pools to pay out non-servers but these employees must be engaged in “front of the house” operations helping guests.
In addition to some back of the house employees receiving tips, the lawsuit claims the maitre d’ and beverage director also received income from the tip pool. Making matters worse, the defendants also forced workers into arbitration agreements to try and keep any employment disputes out of court and limit exposure to liability.
Unfortunately, these types of illegal employment practices are all too common in the restaurant industry where servers and cooks work long hours to try and make a living for themselves and their families. As an industry, restaurants are competitive business with often razor sharp profit margins; managers may turn to unscrupulous company practices to pad the bottom line and their own pay at the expense of vulnerable employees.
Restaurant Worker Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit
Call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you believe that your wage rights are being violated under the FLSA. Our top-rated team of unpaid wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action to help you seek justice.
Our office will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. Because strict time limitations apply for filing these types of claims, we advise you contact our experienced unpaid overtime wage attorneys at your earliest convenience and preserve your legal rights.